LoTR: The Dark Elf. Chapter Six of many . . . - The Dark Elf series.

The Fellowship arrives at the West Gate of Moria as clouds cover the full moon. Gimli is at awe of the walls. Gimli spoke, his voice showing his awe, "The walls of Moria!"

They all walk by the side of the lake. Frodo and the other three Hobbits look around as they followed Solaris. Gandalf makes out an outline of the doors. Gandalf whispered, "Now, let's see. Ithildin -- it mirrors only starlight and moonlight."

The moon finally clears the clouds as the doorway to the Mines of Moria appears before them. The Hobbits and Gimli goes close to see the doorway.

Gandalf whispered, "It reads, `The doors of Durin - Lord of Moria. Speak friend and enter.' That's simple."

Merry looked up at Gandalf, "What do you suppose that means?"

Gandalf smiled, "It's quite simple. If you are a friend you speak the password and the doors will open. Annon Edhellen edro hi ammen! (Gate of the Elves open now for me!)"

Doors didn't even open for him. Gandalf begins to push it with his staff. Time passes as the rest of the Fellowship are seated around the doors or near the lake, still waiting for Gandalf to open it.

Gandalf starting to get a bit angry, "Ando Eldarinwa a lasta quettanya, Fenda Casarinwa! (Gate of Elves listen to my word, Threshold of Dwarves!)"

The doors refuse to open for him. He looks at the door again and tries another round of elven words. Solaris is watching him as Merry and Pippin look at her.

"Solaris, we overheard Aragorn called you a...Dark Elf on the mountain? What did he mean by that?" asked Merry.

"That was my nickname in the Rangers when I posed as a man to train," spoke Solaris.

"You posed as a man!?" exclaimed Pippin, looking shocked at her.

"Yes. I dressed and even spoke like one for about a year before I was found out," Solaris stated as her voice suddenly changed from a female sounding voice to that of a much deeper sounding voice of a man's.

"How did that happen?" asked Boromir, listening to what the Hobbits asked of Solaris.

"We went into battle against a pack of Orcs. I got wounded and knocked out by one of the Orcs and I was about to be killed when my captain killed the Orcs around me to save my life. My captain dragged me out of harm's way and got me to the healers before returning to battle. The healer removed my shirt and found my true gender of being a female elf. Everyone had assumed I was male cause of my non gender sounding name and plus they gave me the nickname of Dark Elf, because I was so lethal with my daggers, sword and archery. My bow was one thing no one wanted to get near with the blades that I placed on it. The healer had no choice but to report to him that I was not a male but a female under a guise of a man. He was angered by my `supposed' betrayal of my gender. He was one who thought or more less believed that females belong in the kitchen with the offspring than on the battlefield," stated Solaris.

"So who was your captain who told you to leave the field of battle?" asked Frodo.

"Aragorn, he was the Rangers captain," spat Solaris. She quickly turned to look at where Aragorn was at to find him with Bill the pony and Sam.

Aragorn spoke as he unhitched Bill's bridle, "The mines are no place for a pony, even one so brave as Bill. He must leave."

Sam said, sadly as Bill nudged Sam and then starts to walk away into the night, "Buh-bye Bill."

Aragorn spoke, making sure he kept moving away from the Mines, "Go on, Bill, go on. Don't worry Sam, he knows the way home."

Aragorn and Sam starts to walk back to the others as Aragorn notice the gaze that Solaris was giving him. He returned the same gaze.

Gandalf exasperated about not being able to open the door. "Oh, it's useless!"

"Men! Why must this always be done by the females? Why don't you ask one of the two Elves for help, Gandalf?" spat Solaris, as she stood up from her place.

"What can you do, Solaris; that Gandalf can't do?" snapped Aragorn.

"I can open this door. You forget one thing, my fellow travelers. Elves wrote this and so they put a riddle to make non Elves think harder and if they know the term for friend is Mellon, which will open the doors." spoke Solaris, as the stone doors slowly swung open. The wind blows the air from the Mines of Moria into her face blowing her hair back towards the lake.

Gimli speaks quickly and excitedly, "Soon master elf you will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the dwarves. Roaring fires, malt beer and the ripest meat right off the bone. This...my friend, is the home of my cousin Balin. And they call it a mine. A mine!"

"Arm yourselves!" yelled Solaris, as her bow and two arrows were in her hand pointed towards the open door of Moria.

Boromir asked, as he pulled out his sword as did Aragorn, "What's wrong, Solaris?"

"Smell the air itself. This mine is no longer a mine but a tomb! Look! The dwarf kingdom has been attacked." spoke Solaris, as they all entered the room.

Gimli wailed, "Oh! No! Noooo!"

Legolas picks up an arrow from the body of a fallen dwarf, examines it and casts it away in disgust. He states, "Goblins!"

Boromir states as he backs towards the door, "We make for the Gap of Rohan. We should never have come here."

The eerie howl of a creature stops them as they turn towards the door to see the Watcher on the shore, his tentacles wrapping around the doors and slamming the doors shut in front of them - - leaving them with one way out of the Mines of Moria is to go into the Mines themselves.

Gandalf yells, "Into the Mines!"

A beam of light emits from Gandalf's staff, showing the startled faces of the Fellowship. Gandalf sighs softly, "We now have but one choice. We must face the long dark of Moria. Be on your guard. There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world."

They carefully picked their way over the floor and up the broad steps. Everyone is now on edge and cast worried looks towards Gandalf, leading them by the light from his staff further into the mines.

Gandalf looked at them and spoke in a whisper, "Quietly now. It is a four day journey to the other side. Let us hope that our presence may go unnoticed."

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